Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that can be used instead of the diesel fuel made from petroleum. Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oils and animal fats.
In 2016, soybean oil was the source of about 55% of the total feedstock (raw material) used to produce biodiesel in the United States. Canola oil and corn oil were the source of about 22%, recycled grease about 13%, and animal fats about 10% of the total feedstock. Rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and palm oil are other major sources of the biodiesel that is consumed in other countries.
Biodiesel is most often blended with petroleum diesel in ratios of 2% (B2), 5% (B5), or 20% (B20). Biodiesel can also be used as pure biodiesel (B100). Biodiesel fuels can be used in regular diesel engines without making any changes to the engines. Biodiesel can also be stored and transported using diesel fuel tanks and equipment.
History of biodiesel
Before petroleum diesel fuel became popular, Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine in 1897, experimented with using vegetable oil (biodiesel) as fuel.